Saturday, February 11, 2006

Gettysburg . . .

¶ . . . Always one of my life-long goals, my second weekend in Maryland was a pilgrimage to the Arch-Memorial, in my opinion, to our Civil War Fallen, North and South. What a gorgeous place! For those that have already visited, you'll already understand the sentiment of reverance, too.
        My first stop was a quick visit to the Visitor Center and Museum (Quick, because I was going to try to make Antietam Battlefield the same day. The best laid plans . . . that didn't happen!). Magnificent! There is an excellent collection of weapons from the period and the Gift Shop is THE place for purchase of Civil War publications. Here I purchased the cassette for the two-hour Auto Tour (should have bought the three-hour one!). Two hours was more like five! Here I am with my little cassette player near the first day's action that July of 1863, McPherson Ridge.

        Up to the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and by the Lutheran Seminary, a beautiful drive southward along Seminary Ridge, where I stand pictured below.

        Warfield Ridge, on the southern end of Seminary Ridge, is where this observation tower stands, affording a killer panoramic view of the battlefield.

        Below are the two Round Tops as seen from the tower, Little Round left and Big Round right.

        I've arrived at Little Round Top which affords some hiking trails into some neat woods. I'm going to walk along the top to see the many monuments erected there.

        Here's the view from Little Round Top looking down upon the Devil's Den.

        From here at the Devil's Den I had to call my Pop with the basic "Check out where I'm at!!"

        I'm sure many are familiar with this famous photograph, taken after the battle:

        Well, I certainly was and one of my day's goals was to find the spot; fortunately it's clearly marked!

        Here I am seated there:

        The plaque explains the photograph (it was staged) and states that the body was found about forty yards to your rear, from your view of the above picture, and moved up to the wall. The soldier fell in reality around the area shown below.

        The Slaughter Pen, below and adjacent to the Devil's Den:

        Here, near The Peach Orchard, is a unique monument: a Minie ball!

        Another view of it:

        Notice here, near Plum Run, where the cannonball had punctured the barn; this today is still a private residence!

        It was stated in the tape I purchased that there are 1340 monuments that have been erected in the park. You have a better chance of visiting the 253 markers spread all over the rather large territory of Nevada than you have of finding the time to see all of Gettysburg's! They're everywhere, along with multitudes of cannons!! Many here are quite elaborate, but by far the most auspicious is the Pennsylvania Memorial.

        Nearing the end of my visit, here I am at Spangler's Spring, on the eastern side of the park and Cemetery Ridge, near Culp's Hill. These were some gorgeous woods, even in wintertime.

        I'm heading now to Cemetery Ridge, coming from Culp's Hill, below.

        Naturally, the tour ends on Cemetery Ridge (Not really: East of the main park you can visit the East Cavalry Battlefield Site!) Below is "The Copse of Trees" (I'm looking up the meaning of "copse" now!).

        Cemetery Ridge and "The Angle" . . .

        . . . and the site on Cemetery Ridge of "Pickett's Charge."

¶ . . . For some time previously, my son and my father had recommended The Killer Angels, which you can see on my "Current Read" sidebar. I stopped at a bookstore on my way back to the hotel and picked it up. It is a great, Pulitzer Prize-winning "historical fiction" account of the Gettysburg battle and reading it after having been to the sites described in the book is nothing less than fantastic. Don't pass up a chance to visit the park! It is one of the High Points of my travels, one I shall never forget.

¶ . . . STAY TUNED! Next up: ARMOR!! (Hopefully sooner than later; still working late!!)

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